'''Edward Gibbon''' Fellow of the Royal Society|FRS
(; 8 May 1737
[Old Style|O.S. 27 April]
16 January 1794)
[Gibbon's birthday is 27 April 1737 of the old style (O.S.) Julian calendar; England adopted the new style (N.S.) Gregorian calendar in 1752, and thereafter Gibbon's birthday was celebrated on 8 May 1737 N.S.]
was an English historian, writer and Member of Parliament. His most important work, ''The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
'', was published in six volumes between 1776 and 1788 and is known for the quality and irony of its prose, its use of primary sources, and its open criticism of organised religion.
[The most recent and also the first critical edition, in three volumes, is that of David Womersley. For commentary on Gibbon's irony and insistence on primary sources whenever available, see Womersley, "Introduction". While the larger part of Gibbon's caustic view of Christianity is declared within the text of... ]